Issued by Atlas Duma
03 Sep 2021
The time you realise that your peers are eventually called “elderly people”, that is when you, together have started to listen to good music. The music that culms you down, think of the past, presence and the future. I also took time trying to figure out if how many jazz musicians in KwaZulu Natal that have ever produced a Live in Concert Video/DVD? KZN has produced so many prominent musicians, such as Sipho Gumede, Busi Mhlongo, Bheki Mseleku, Wendy Mseleku, Mandla Masuku, Themba Mkhize, Nduduzo Makhathini, the list is endless for Jazz Fretinity, while we still have Black Coffee, DJ Tira, Zakes Bantwini, Mbongeni Ngema and many more in other music genres. Proven, KZN is a home for many successful artists across various art forms, especially the performing art.
How can we define “Good Music”? You may call it Jazz, Pop, Afro Jazz, Afro Soul or Fusion but as long as it sounds good and soothing the soul, it has to be music that connects various good spirits to the universe, God, ancestors, etc. while fits very well in social cohesion as medium to convey imperative messages of love and hope. Could it be the Jazz Musicians that are Extremely Talented, yet underrated? I know that Jazz is a fundamental tool to teach music. It gave birth to may music genres, but once you have mastered the skill, that is the beginning of poverty, especially in South Africa, why? Music consumers are looted by the media, especially radio DJs, which gives praises to the new music genres of which some are killing the culture and conventional good music colours painted by a well skilled instrumentalist or vocalist.
The opening statement of this article has a rhetoric question about the number of KZN Musicians that has ever produced a Live DVD in Concert. I hope you have your answer on that one but I have discovered that Sagiya Foundation seen a huge gab and decided to take a priority to break a record. Against all odds brought about COVID19 and Lockdown, Sagiya Foundation managed to produce at least 9 Live in Concert Video/DVD for 9 KZN Jazz and popular music artists, such as Bongani Nkwanyana, Mthobisi Mthalane, Xolisa Dlamini, Nicky Shange, Jerry Kunene, Vincent Mtetwa, Mduduzi Magwaza, Royalson and Prof Rippon in 2020/2021. Thanks to The Playhouse Company, Concerts SA. Thanks to SAMRO Foundation for sponsoring commercial video for Bongani Nkwanyana and Xolisa Dlamini and for Vincent Mtetwa CD cutting, which was eventually looted during SA political riots in a Courier Company Depot before got delivered to our premises.
In this passage I would like to unfold reach stories of some of the KZN Artists that have triumph long journey in the music industry but not yet gaining the great exposure that they deserve. In 2017 Sagiya Foundation releases Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble among other artists that are under the foundation management. We call them UJE, the Music Legends Band. Their music paints the genuine township jazz colours and portrays the “Rabi” vibes of Umkhumbane Groves, which relate to District 6, Sofire Town and Kofifi. Some of the musos that I will siscuss about here are members of Umkhumbane jazz ensemble. As much as UJE comprises of Music Legends, which are now veterans, very few radio stations are keen to play them. Setback to jazz, the good music.
Let me take you through the journey of the Musos, extremely talented, worked, travelled, facilitated musical workshops, others graduated and lectured in universities but just released their debut albums. One man said “better late than never”.
Launched his debut album at the age of 74. I am honoured to present to you Mduduzi Magwaza, one of the very popular music legends who made a mark in the music industry taking after the late Spokes Mashiyane, a renowned Penny Whistler who created beautiful everlasting melodies of Mango Groove. Magwaza recorded and released his debut album “Siyabonga Njinji”, long waited. Independent label Sagiya Records adhered to contribute to the empowerment of South African Music legends and veterans. Sagiya Records proudly signed Mduduzi Magwaza and released his debut album on the 15th January 2021.
Mr Magwaza, grew up in Mkhumbane, Cato Manor. He was cut out of the ground breaking music legends thread, a community that has proven to be the hotspot for international acknowledged talent by producing one of the most notable musicians, Bheki Mseleku, Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble music legends, such as Moses Sefatsa, Jerry Kunene, Sithenbiso Ntuli and many more. He then enhanced his love for music by being one of the founder-members of Bayede which was later led by Jabu Khanyile, the late. The band was comprising of Mduduzi Magwaza on Alto Sax, Mfaniseni Thusi, Jonny Chonco on Guitar, Jantshi Mayo on Base, Calton Maledi on Drums and Arthur Shabalala on Keys. This was the first team of Bayede which recorded Bayede’s Debut Album. They were later joined by Fana Zulu and Themba Mkhize. The band’s bond cultivated to such an extent that they spent day and night together producing exceptional music.
Making a mark in the year 1999, taking after the late Spokes Mashiyane a renowned Penny Whistler who created everlasting melodies of Mango Groove. Mr Magwaza then toured New York, UK, Norway and other several countries with Mango Groove. He travelled his journey in the music industry with great musicians performing together with Baba Mokoena, Teaspoon Ndelu, Robert Dlamini, Sandile Shange, Dick Khoza, Sipho Gumede, Madala Kunene, Victor Ntoni, Ntombi Manana, Matume Rachamane, Club Pelican, Gibson Kente and currently UJE (UMkhumbane Jazz Ensemble).
His Music Sound has Sipho Gumede’s Influence. His debut album “Ithemba Lami” became a hit for many radio stations in South Africa. Recorded his Live DVD at The Playhouse Company Opera Theatre under Sagiya Records produced by Atlas Duma.
Nkwanyana is a founder of the band Stax along with late Qunta Mbhele and Wake Mahlobo. Worked as the bassist for Sipho Gumede, Busi Mhlongo, Mbongeni Ngema, Tu Nokwe, Mercy Phakela, Ali Katt and many more. His Music style is dominated by a lead bass guitar accompanied by other musical instruments including vocals. Has up tempo danceable pop song as well as ballads. He toured different countries, such as Germany, Swaziland, Botswana, Senegal, Namibia and many more, along with different bands. Bongani has excellent skills as a Musician, Composer and Arranger. In 2021, he released a music video of a song titled “Moments to Remember” in memory of the late Sipho Gumede. He recorded his Live video in Concert in 2020 November, produced by Sagiya Foundation at the Playhouse Company, sponsored by Concerts SA and Ethekwini Municipality Area Based Management Department under the leadership of Mr Linda Mbonambi. His Live in Concert videos are available of Sagiya Foundation YouTube Channel.
Prof Anthony Rippon
Prof Rippon is a Strategic business adviser for Sagiya Foundation on Environment and Climate Resilience projects, Sustainable Development Goals (One Life One Earth).
He is a brilliant Music composer, popular by his classic hit “Too Blind to See” which is featured in Dim-Dep Musical, which was founded and produced by Atlas Duma and presented by Sagiya Foundation in 2015, 2016 and 2018 at The Playhouse Company Opera Theatre. Prof Rippon founded Prof. Rippon and African Buskers Band which has a rainbow nation representative such as Atlas Duma on Drums (African), Clinton Girdharilall (Indian), Prof. Rippon (White) and three backing vocalists. Live Recorded Video is available on Sagiya Foundation YouTube Channel, Three singles available in all Digital Stores, such as Apple Music/iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc.
He composes songs through edutainment (education through entertainment). Listening to a few of his songs, the love of his environment is shown throughout his songs. He sings about how we have to take care of our planet earth and life as there is only one of both. He performs mostly at business seminars, conferences and music festivals.
Musawenkosi Vincent Mtetwa
Musawenkosi Vincent Mtetwa has performed throughout the country and internationally as a jazz musician and Lecturer, also working with the traditional African musicians in South Africa. He has shared the stage with many great musicians i.e. Madala Kunene, Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble, Hugh Masekela, Jimmy Dludlu, Selaelo Selota, Caiphus Semenya, Brian Thusi and many others. He has performed before thousands of people in the following platforms: Cape Town International Jazz Festival, The Essence Festival, Arts Alive Festival, The Market Theatre, Joy of Jazz, Grahamstown Jazz Festival, Awesome Africa, MTN Jazz Festival, Ugu Jazz Festival, Rainbow Jazz Year-end Concerts.
He is currently a freelance-musician and has produced an album with the Durban Jazz-Legends (Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble). In 2014 he has been working with the COPA Academy (Kensington, Johannesburg) as a Music Lecturer. Copa Academy has branches in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.
In October 9-11, 2014 he performed with Madala Kunene, as resident band-keyboard-player, at the Carnegie Hall, New York City, in the UBUNTU festival together with Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo [20 years of SA democracy celebration]. His performance experience has opened doors in other various fields of musical genres such as contemporary music, where he did a series of different tribute shows at THE DOCKYARD SUPPER THEATRE. This happened in 2003-2010 and the shows were as follows: BEE GEES, CARLOS SANTANA, PAUL Mc CARTNEY, THE EAGLES, ELTON JOHN, THE BEATLES, TOTO, ABBA etc. He later joined The Pumpkin Theatre from the period 2010 – 2011.
Throughout this whole experience, he has always been involved with different churches, over a period of 21 years, as a Musical Director and Keyboard-Player. He has also toured Swaziland with Mr Madala Kunene, the late Mr Mandla Masuku and has also performed in China through Arts and Culture KZN (Feb 2007-Chinese New Year World Event). Between 2004 and 2007 Arts and Culture had an initiative where they granted certain groups from different districts of KwaZulu Natal that had won on traditional African music competitions, a free-album recording deal and Mr Mtetwa was part of those recording sessions. He has also produced and recorded with some prominent musicians namely: Dr Brian Thusi (afro-jazz), Thulani Ga Ndlela (gospel), and currently, Mr Mduduzi Magwaza (former Mango Groove-Penny whistle player and Composer).
He obtained his BPrac Mus (in Jazz and Popular Music) in 2011 and also has a Diploma in Light Music with the Natal Technikon, now known as the Durban University of Technology, 2001). His career as a Lecturer at the UKZN has exposed him to many great Musicians and allowed him to groom others in the process. He works with community projects and has been a part of the Bat Centre in Durban, Msunduzi Music School in Pietermaritzburg and with the UKZN Music School as a Jazz and Popular Music Lecturer. He has received many Awards in his career e.g.
Best Contemporary Musician, Old Mutual Jazz Encounters, Ear Training Merit Award, Performance in Jazz & Popular Music (4th Year), Music Appreciation, Harmony, Counterpoint, Instrument, Piano.
What is Sagiya Foundation?
Sagiya Foundation is a performing art, theatre and musical enterprise production which focuses on delivering a total theatre productions and musical enterprise solution to targeted markets. The indoor and outdoor initiatives are Afro-centric and aligned to education and awareness-raising. This foundation has also helped the aforementioned artists by creating a platform to share their talents through performing arts. It encourages exposure. Sagiya Foundation has three primary business units, namely, Sagiya Records, Sagiya Publishers and Sagiya Theatre Productions. www.sagiyafoundation.co.za
About the Author – Atlas Duma:
- Founder and Executive Director of Sagiya Foundation
- General Secretary of CCA-SA (Cultural Connection Africa – South Africa) an international arts network organisation that was formed by Katherine McVicker, the Director of Music Works International, based in Bostone, USA
- Author, Director and Producer of Dim-Dep Musical “Faces of Environmental; Success” (Theatre Production)
- Producer of Sagiya International Jazz Day Festival, KZN
- Producer of Sagiya Virtual Jazz Concerts
- Producer of MCCD (Musical Collaboration in Cultural Diversity)
- Obtain a Diploma in Jazz and Popular Music from Technikon Natal (DUT)
- Registered CATHSSETA as a Facilitator and assessor of Arts Education Unit Standards CATHSSETA
- Former music and Dramatic Arts Educator for the Department of Education in Isibonelo High School and Umphumulo High School
- Freelancing Music Facilitator in various art centres, such as The Playhouse Company, Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre, The BAT Centre and other.
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